Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a lion.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of the lion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Pertaining to, or characteristic of, the lion

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to or resembling a lion; lion-like: as, leonine fierceness or rapacity.
  • In prosody, consisting of metrical Latin hexameters or elegiacs (alternate hexameters and pentameters), in which the final word rimes with the word immediately preceding the cesural pause or the middle of the line.
  • Pertaining to a person named Leo, particularly to several popes of that name; more specifically, of or pertaining to Leo I., the Great (pope from 440 to 461), who is said to have added certain words to the Roman canon of the mass, and whom some have even, without good reason, described as the author of the Roman liturgy.
  • n. A coin illegally imported into England by foreign merchants in the reign of Edward I.
  • n. plural Leonine verse.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. of or characteristic of or resembling a lion

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French leonin, from Latin leōnīnus, from leō, leōn-, lion; see lion.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin leōnīnus 'of a lion; lion-like'. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The state increasingly becomes a tool to protect “wage contracts” which are increasingly leonine, that is, based on inequality.

    An Introduction to Distributism

  • A programme that posits the notion of leonine alpha-male big beasts of the suburban conservatory sharing tobacco-smooth post-snifter badinage - not even behind a desk, but right out in front on the crotch-fanning plinth of the low-slung sofa - suddenly became noticeably stiff‑backed and taut, its banter infused with fresh levels of glazed menace.

    The Guardian World News

  • Here he is, a debut author, lounging around Paris cafés and smirking at the hordes of "leonine" Hemingway poseurs.

    A Writer’s Brush With Fate

  • The ANC could perhaps have said - as even Mahatma Gandhi wrote from jail in 1942 - that it could not condemn, without full information, people who were provoked to violence by the "leonine" violence of the regime when their leaders were confined and exiled.

    UNITED NATIONS, INDIA AND SOUTH AFRICA'S LIBERATION STRUGGLE

  • Sketches of G. K.'s personal appearance abound, and if occasionally they contradict one another in detail they yet contrive to convey a vivid and fairly truthful impression of the "leonine" head, the bulky form, the gestures and mannerisms.

    Gilbert Keith Chesterton

  • Nietzsche in Germany puts it forth as a philosophic principle that humanity exists not for the democratic purpose of securing the highest development of all, but for the aristocratic purpose of producing a race of supermen, an elite of strong, forceful, "leonine" beings.

    The Essentials of Spirituality

  • The image of Theseus is accompanied by a legend in the "leonine" rhythm: --

    Pagan and Christian Rome

  • He was tall and lean, his brown hair long and his face leonine.

    My Fair Succubi

  • She plays him from the inside out, revealing his interior struggles while making fully incarnate his exterior -- the irony, sarcasm, ecstatic beauty, paradox, and the leonine raging against an incipient silence.

    Music review: Yuliya Gorenman plays Beethoven sonatas at the Katzen Center

  • The diseased palazzos, with their flaking waterfront facades, leonine doorknockers and rusting, shackled iron pylons, are from a bygone era at odds with modernity.

    Kisa Lala: Venice Biennale: A Temple of Transience By Mike And Doug Starn

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  • "In one of the two, Archer, to his surprise, recognised Ned Winsett; the other and older, who was unknown to him, and whose gigantic frame declared him to be the wearer of the 'Macfarlane,' had a feebly leonine head with crumpled grey hair, and moved his arms with large pawing gestures, as though he were distributing lay blessings to a kneeling multitude."
    - Edith Wharton, 'The Age of Innocence'.

    September 19, 2009